Metabolic Balance – Your Questions Answered
What is Metabolic Balance?
Metabolic balance is an eating plan designed to balance the metabolic pathways in your body to help achieve a fitter, healthier you. The metabolic balance plan uses whole, natural foods to give you a balanced diet with little refined carbohydrate, therefore avoids insulin peaks and troughs and allows your body’s metabolism to balance itself. As your metabolism is “turned on”, you experience benefits such as effective weight loss, balanced hormones and optimized health.
Scientifically developed Metabolic Balance’s holistic approach answers the weight and obesity questions, “How can I lose weight effectively, keep the weight off, and measurably improve my health?”
The research – over 20 years worth – goes to the root cause of how and why a person stores and releases fat. Metabolic Balance is based on the assumption that a person’s body is capable of producing – on its own – the enzymes and hormones that it needs to function. In order to do so, a body requires “building material” in the form of nutrients that are obtained from the foods we eat. Based on this in-depth and modern understanding, Metabolic Balance creates a personalized weight loss diet system that naturally burns excess fat, optimizes your metabolism, balances your hormones and your biochemistry, resulting in achieving your ideal weight and much-improved health.
Main benefits of Metabolic Balance:
1. Can resolve your weight problems permanently,
2. Can measurable improve your health
3. Can prevent future health issues, and reduce and/or eliminate current health issues. (E.g. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, insomnia, etc.)
Who created the Metabolic Balance system?
Dr Wolf Funfack M.D. is an established and respected physician specialized in Internal and Nutritional Medicine. After 16 years of experience with countless “diets” programs and their mediocre results, he came to the conclusion that it was time to try something new. Together with Ms Bürkle (a graduate nutritional technologist), Dr Funfack developed the Metabolic Balance program in 2001.
What does it involve?
The first step is to discuss the program with our metabolic balance coach. If you then decide that metabolic balance is appropriate for you then you fill in a questionnaire, perform some basic body measurements and undergo some blood tests. This information will then be used to generate an eating plan designed specifically for you. The plan depends on your goals (usually weight loss), your body measurements and the blood test results.
What is in a typical metabolic balance plan?
All plans have certain features in common. These are the four phases, the eight rules and the metabolic balance coach supervision. The foods on the diet vary for each individual but this is not a fad diet. The foods on the diet are generally whole (non-processed) foods and there is no need to take vitamins or supplements of any kind. The plans use foods that are natural appetite suppressants and therefore make it easier for you to stick with the program.
What are the four phases?
Each metabolic balance plan has four phases. The first phase is the “Preparation Phase” which involves a gentle detox and bowel cleansing phase over 2 days; this physically and psychologically prepares you for the “Strict Adjustment Phase”. The “Strict Adjustment Phase” lasts a minimum of 14 days and during this time you begin to experience the benefits of the program. These benefits include rapid weight loss and a general feeling of well-being. When this phase is complete you enter the “Relaxed Phase” during which certain foods are added to the program and you are also allowed to have a “cheat day” once a week. During this phase, you continue to see significant weight loss. Once your goals are achieved you enter the “Maintenance Phase” where more foods are added to the program. Even in this phase, you are encouraged to continue to use the eight rules.
What are the eight rules?
The modern western diet involves consuming sugars and refined carbohydrates on multiple occasions throughout the day. This results in peaks and troughs of insulin. Even “diet”, “low carbohydrate” and “sugar-free” foods can, by their colour and taste, stimulate cravings resulting in excess calorie consumption. The eight rules are designed to prevent the peaks and troughs in insulin and to re-educate you, and your metabolism, so that you no longer feel the need to constantly graze. These rules will be explained to you at your initial free consultation.
What role does the coach play?
If adopting a healthier lifestyle and diet was easy then the Western World would be a much happier healthier place. unfortunately, it is not. All successful diet plans and exercise regimes require not only a desire to change but also a plan and support. The metabolic balance program gives you not only a plan designed specifically for you but also gives you a trained coach to help support and guide you through that plan. The program is, therefore, the combination of the plan and the coach. By using metabolic balance you also have the reassurance that your coach does not work in isolation – if there are problems that you cannot solve between you, he has support mechanisms to help.
Who can do metabolic balance?
Almost everyone can do metabolic balance but there are people for whom the program is not suitable. These include pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with severe kidney or liver disease and children. It is also not suitable for Vegans. Vegetarians can be accommodated but often find the food choices limited. Diabetic patients can go onto the program but should do so with the knowledge and agreement of their doctor. The very rare individual who is allergic to apples is also not suitable.
What do I need to be prepared to do?
You must also willing to purchase and prepare your own fresh food; the program is about lifestyle change: if you want a “quick fix” (that will certainly fail) then this is not for you.
In order to be successful, you have to be willing to abide by the rules of the program. This requires some self-control. This is aided by the program which uses natural appetite suppressants to control cravings. However to achieve the goals you need to be willing to make a commitment. You must be willing to set aside 16 days for the “Preparation” and “Strict Adjustment” phases. During these phases, you will be eating only certain foods, weighed and prepared in specific ways, with a limitation on your physical activity so it is not the time to be attending parties and functions. After these 16 days, you will be permitted to have “cheat days” so your social life can resume!
You must be prepared to work with your coach. Your metabolic balance coach will advise and encourage you and will be there to help you get back on track if things go wrong. Studies have shown that the correct support is very important in successful weight loss programs. Your coach will agree with you how you wish to be supported.
What is a typical day?
As all the plans are individual it is difficult to give a “typical day” but here is an example:
Breakfast – Yoghurt with mango, tea or coffee, two slices of rye bread
Lunch – Feta cheese salad, tea or coffee, apple
Dinner – Salmon and vegetables, a slice of rye bread, peach, tea or coffee.
What weight loss can I expect?
Typical weight loss in the first 16 days is about 5 kg. Depending on exercise and lifestyle weight loss typically then continues at a rate of 0.7 to 1.0 kg per week. Most people (8 to 20 kg overweight) will, therefore, achieve a healthy weight in two to four months.
How does the Metabolic Balance program reduce weight?
Your individualized nutrition plan supplies your body with all the natural nutrients it needs for good health. The food is not selected according to calorie content or by the percentage of fat, or protein, or carbohydrates. The criteria for food selection is the effect the food has on your hormonal balance.
Through this method, a healthy, natural and balanced metabolism and insulin emission is promoted. Insulin is a major key to your body’s weight management issues and has a large effect on your other hormones. By following a few simple rules when preparing and eating your food, you begin to strengthen and balance your entire hormonal system and to naturally manage your weight.
Every person is different. Everybody is unique. Some of us can eat whatever we like and stay skinny. Many of us can’t. If you’re in the second group, then reaching your target weight isn’t easy. But it’s possible if you stack the cards in your favour, and this is exactly what Metabolic Balance does for you.
You’ll learn how to prepare your own, fresh food including all major food groups, helping you lose weight and stay healthy.
The good thing is that you’ll become independent over time. Metabolic Balance becomes a seamless, natural part of your new healthy life, giving you the freedom to socialise knowing that you have all the tools to make sensible food choices, whatever the circumstances. So you can get on with living your life – looking fabulous and feeling confident.
What are the health benefits of the Metabolic Balance program?
By a deliberate and permanent adjustment toward balanced, natural and healthy nutrition; and in combination with the appropriate exercise, most diseases and ailments in modern civilization could be hugely reduced or possibly even eliminated. Diseases and ailment such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, imbalanced cholesterol, diabetes II, insomnia, etc can be greatly helped. By restoring yourself to balanced all-natural nutrition, you cause a “natural restoration” in your body to occur.
Your fitness, ability to concentrate and your energy state can improve immensely. You will sleep better, your physical and psychological strength will increase. You will feel healthier, more energetic and appear fresh! As you shed body fat, you do not lose protein and therefore your muscles and connective tissues remain stable and your skin improves, remaining tight and smooth.
What’s the problem with fad diets?
The problem with fad diets is that they don’t deal with the underlying cause of your weight gain.
Many of them are generic, one-size-fits-all and unsustainable because they will make you feel hungry, tired and prone to different kinds of cravings. This can set you up for a lifetime of yo-yo dieting.
Metabolic Balance – Does it work for both women and men?
The short answer is yes. Women do very well with Metabolic Balance. Some of the benefits include dropping a dress size, a decrease in menopausal and other female health issues and a general increase in confidence and quality of life.
Men also get great results with Metabolic Balance. Male participants love the structured nature of the programme, along with the speedy results. These include dropping belt sizes, more energy to play with the kids and the ability to beef up really quickly.
There is no sexual discrimination with Metabolic Balance. The only prerequisite is your own willingness to participate in- and stick to the programme in order to reach your goals.
How will this affect eating differently from my family?
This could affect how you eat with your family, especially during the first phase where the temptations can be overwhelming.
You’ll have to be determined, but keep your eye on the prize. Breakfasts are straightforward and packed lunches take planning, but they can easily be prepared for others too. Dinners will not be lasagne and pizza, so if that is what your family dinners consist of then, yes, it could be very challenging.
However, the health principles behind your new nutrition programme are sound and universal, and you will in fact be doing the family a favour by teaching them healthy ‘diet skills’
As mentioned before, this is a metabolic adjustment and lifestyle change, which through my coaching and guidance will help you move this from a diet to be second nature
I do a lot of business travel and lunches, can I still participate?
Before participating in the program it is essential to determine when will be a good time for you to start. It is recommended to ‘put your social and travel life on hold’ for the first 16 days, due to the fact that there is no deviation allowed and going out for dinners etc can be complicated.
If you are travelling and staying in self-catering accommodation this may be possible. Start the plan after birthday celebrations and holidays or at a time when things have slowed down in your life. Remember this is only 16 days and well worth it. After that, there will be more leeway and as your coach and therapist I will guide you in making sensible choices when you are tempted to go out, and I’ll educate you in the rules to break the rules.
Are there any pills/shakes or special foods involved?
There are no pills, shakes or special foods involved with Metabolic Balance. The plans are based solely on whole foods, which can be purchased in any supermarket or farmers’ market.
The majority of people in London live life in the fast lane, with long working hours and even longer social hours. Small kitchens and limited time mean that, for many, planning their meals is a thing of the past.
My goal is to get people back into their kitchens and to help them take responsibility for their diet and health. Through buying and preparing your own food, you get back to basics and you understand how food influences so many aspects of your daily life, from health through energy to social events … I can go on forever!
With Metabolic Balance you have to prepare your own food and get up close and personal with the cooker and chopping board once more.
Do I have to weigh my food forever?
That will be a lot to ask and I don’t think anyone would like to live by scales and a printed sheet of paper. It is important in the beginning to weigh your food and stick to the plan in order to get an idea of how much food you need and what your meals should consist of.
The principles of Metabolic Balance are what’s important in the long run, and my role as a coach is to guide you to transform this plan from a ‘diet’ to a lifestyle. It just becomes what you do and how you live your life. This basically means you intuitively know what your body needs, how much food you need to keep you going through the day without feeling hungry and deprived whilst keeping your weight and health in check – always!
Always remember your goal and WHY you made changes in the first place.
Will I be able to drink alcohol?
Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, whilst fat contains 9 calories per gram. Yes, alcohol is very calorific and it contains a lot of sugar that can upset your insulin levels and a cascade of other hormones, contributing to an imbalanced metabolism.
At the start of the program, you are not allowed to drink alcohol, but once you enter phase III you can have a drink as part of your ‘cheat’ for the week. If your goals are to lose weight, be healthy and throw away your medication, then I would suggest staying away from alcohol as much as possible.
Life happens, and there will always be a temptation to ‘drink to the occasion’, but keeping your goal in mind will help you to stay on straight and narrow. Drinking too much alcohol can contribute to leptin resistance which in turn will make you eat more, even that one glass of wine in the evening can lead to overeating in some people.
What is the proven track record?
To date, more than 200,000 plans have been generated worldwide. The program was first brought to the UK in 2008.
In a one-year observational study with 970 participants, it was found that 64% of clients stayed on the program after 6 months and 56% were still on it after 12 months.
90% of participants experienced weight reduction. In addition, the study reported a success rate of 79% in reducing syndrome X, while 55% of participants experienced an improvement in liver function, 43% lowered triglycerides and 27% lowered LDL (bad cholesterol).
Metabolic Balance – what are the 4 phases?
Phase I is a two-day preparation phase, where the body is primed for your nutritional plan to follow. You may experience some detoxification symptoms which vary from person to person.
Phase II is the strict phase where you eat only what is on your plan; you adhere to strict rules (this is a German plan after all!) and it continues for 14 days. At this stage, you will begin to feel healthier and see positive changes toward your optimal weight and well being.
Phase III is the adjustment phase. At this stage, you can add foods from your expanded list and you are allowed one ‘cheat meal’ per week (and yes, this does include wine or a cheeky chocolate cake).
Phase IV is the maintenance phase. This begins as soon as you are content with the goal you have accomplished, and at this stage, you’ve had many consultations with your coach and nutritional therapist in order for you to walk away with this being an ingrained lifestyle change, which you can implement for the rest of your life.
Why is Metabolic Balance different from other weight loss programmes?
If there is a magic bullet or pill to cure the obesity epidemic, I hope I am the one to discover it. But I’m not holding my breath. Why? Because there cannot be a “one size fits all” approach to weight loss, since we are each individual in every sense of the way.
To me, a “diet” has a definite beginning and an end when you go back to your old bad habits after achieving a goal. This often leads to piling the old weight back on, and in many cases, you end up weighing even more!
The core reasons behind being overweight in the first place need to be addressed in order to achieve long term success.
Your Metabolic Balance nutrition plan is based on your personal laboratory values of your blood test results. It is truly individual to YOU.
Why are the 5 hours between the meals are so important?
Your body needs for the digesting process an appropriate time and needs to rest also. Every intermediate meal became disturbing for this Metabolic procedure and will give you the known hunger attacks. Please be consequent with the 5-hour resting phases.
Do I have to keep to my plan and eat only the foods that are in my plan?
Yes, you should absolutely keep to your personal Metabolic Balance nutrition plan.
After all, your Individual Plan is a result of specific Lab testing based upon your personal data such as blood, medical and current health situation. This data is like your personal fingerprint. The foods selected by the team of professionals is specifically and scientifically designed to support your metabolism and deliver to it the nutrients and substances it has been missing; ….and removes those foods that may be harmful and you should not be eating. This allows your body metabolic system to become balanced and start functioning as it should.
Again, your coach will be there to assist you with ideas, recipes and encouraging you along the way!
Do I have to keep to the food portions my plan specifies for me?
Yes – especially in the Strict Phase 2. You must keep to the quantities specified as exactly as possible. It is recommended that you use a kitchen scale to become familiar with the portion in your plan.
Why? The indicated specifications correlate directly with your desired weight. When you reach your goal, talk to your coach about possibly opening up more types of foods and portions.
As a strong vegetarian, can I participate in the Metabolic Program?
If you do not eat or will not eat any animal protein, and you only eat fruit, vegetables and cereals; then you can not participate in the program.
Catherine Andrews, DipCNM mNNA CNHC , Registered Nutritional Therapist
Catherine is a Registered Nutritional Therapist. She received her training from the College of Naturopathic Medicine. She is also an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Practitioner, which she views as a valuable tool for supporting clients in understanding how they organise their thinking, feeling, language and behaviour to produce the results they do. Catherine is a registered member of the Naturopathic Nutrition Association (NNA), the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) and The Association for NLP (ANLP).
On top of her official training, Catherine travels extensively to the latest health conferences and lectures in order to further her knowledge and keeps fully up-to-date on the latest scientific research.
Catherine uses a holistic, whole body and mind approach to explore the root cause of her client’s health concerns. She believes in the power of simple real food meals and healthy lifestyle choices, coupled with goal-setting and a positive mindset, as a strong foundation for optimal health. Her clinical experience has shown her that often the simplest of changes can have the biggest impact.
As well as Nutrition, she looks at the way her clients breathe, sleep, handle stress, who their community is, their connection with nature, and much more. Catherine views every one of her clients as completely unique and supports them as such.
Catherine has a passion for supporting clients with a variety of health concerns with a particular interest in Hormone and Metabolic imbalances. She offers one-on-one consultations, runs the Metabolic Balance® 3-month nutrition programme, as well as offers personally catered packages, to meet her client’s unique needs.